Thursday, October 17, 2013

Ahhhh...Alitalia takes a nose dive

Okay-you know things are bad with your Company when the last resort to bail you out is a company so broke it has stopped mail delivery -- and it's the one who is supposed to be delivering the mail.  This is like Detroit trying to get bailed out by Lehman Bros.  I don't know where to start with this incredible story of how - gasp! - horrors! - The Italian Post Office is going to save Alitalia, so I'll start at the end:  Let it fail.  It's not like we'll all suddenly be stranded on our little peninsula - it's a peninsula, after all, and we could always train it out if worse came to worst.  There are plenty of airlines who would gladly pay for the slots, they just don't want to buy the Company those slots come with.
Picture by Gianni Falcone - Diario Acido
I dedicate an entire chapter in my book, Burnt by the Tuscan Sun to Italy's Post Office:  The Postman Never Rings (even) Once.  So I can't think for the life of me how you could take a company, so totally removed from the idea of getting letters and packages from point A to point B, whose only m.o. is 'raise the rates' and maybe we'll make money, and put them in charge of trying to get people and luggage from one place to another.  They'll probably put into practice their current system:  Raise all ticket prices to coincide with Denmark's, and double all prices to & from America, they can afford it.

Italy's post office offers tons of other services; so much so, they shouldn't even be in the letter business to begin with.  But, I guess I can see the commonalities: Nowadays you don't need tickets to board planes, in Italy, you don't need stamps to mail your letters.  Furthermore, both entities have problems with stealing -- fancy items from luggage / fancy items from envelopes.  Talk about core businesses.  I'm thinking that the union personnel over at the Post Office is totally behind this one:  If one group of people is going to have an upgrade, it'll be the poor sods rifling - errr - handling envelopes in the back room.  They're salivating at the bit to get their hands on real cool stuff like cameras and phones and jewelry.
But it's all not as ludicrous as the goins on elsewhere in the postal services:  The U.S. Postal Service is cutting back as well, out of money, and in the red.  And so they spend $40 million to finance Lance Armstrong through consecutive Tours de France?  [and over $100 million on the Olympics??!! -- If there's any need for a government agency shutdown, this would be near the top of my list.  Adding insult to injury, with Lance Armstrong's doping confession, they're trying to get their money returned to sender.  Maybe Lance should just try and buy an airline and it'll all work out for the best.

Your recommended reading list of all things Alitalia (from the last time they went up for sale in 2008) as reported by yours, truly in Burnt by the Tuscan Sun:
Alitalia's Turbulent Ride 
What goes up ...
Amore per Alitalia
Who's who in Alitalia deal
Alitalia's Reality: Lost or Survivor?
Alitalia's Three Card Monty 

And, if you want to try and wrap your head around the reasons behind a failed govt agency spending money on athletes, Start Here.


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